Winter(?) Blooms

While it flies in the face of garden normalcy, it’s been a good winter for many of the flowering perennials in my garden.  Few plants were sent deep into dormancy, so flowering florals have been a constant.

This cheery cool season bloomer has brightened the edge of a garden for months.  Four-nerve DaisyTetraneuris scaposa, is a tidy little thing.  Evergreen slender leaves serve as a base for sprightly yellow daisies.  Even after a hard freeze, this is a typical winter bloomer.

 

Owing to the mild winter, there are a couple of Purple coneflowerEchinacea purpurea, eager for spring to begin.  Interestingly, the established plants, some of which are years old, haven’t bloomed up yet.

This group volunteered themselves for a pathway decoration.   I’ll leave them be–who am I to yank them up when they’re so charming?

 

Another beneficiary of our lack of freezes this winter are the Tropical sageSalvia coccinea.  This particular one is red, but the white ones have bloomed all winter too.  They’re a little lanky now, but I’m still enjoying the accents of red, so they’ll remain until the new growth catches up with the old-growth blooms.

 

A cousin of the S. coccinea is this salmon-colored Autumn sageSalvia greggi.  It’s not a bountiful bloomer, but only because it grows in too much shade.  Still, the blooms are beginning and will grace the garden for the next couple of months, taking a break during our hot summer, resuming flowering in fall.

 

Another “victim” of the mild winter is the Mexican honeysuckleJusticia spicigera.  This is a funny plant as it doesn’t have a specific bloom time. In mild winters like the one this year, it blooms all winter, well into spring.  In a “normal” winter (whatever that is), it’ll be knocked to the ground, requiring several months to flush out before flowering ensues.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these winter-orange blooms and so have the honeybees.  Most of the native bees are dormant for now.

Mexican honeysuckle is also a great plant for part shade–yay for me as I have plenty of that!

 

My two red roses have produced luscious blooms all winter, non-stop.  This, the Martha Gonzales rose,

…and its botanical doppelgänger, the Old Gay Hill rose.  Easy to grow, disease-free, and gorgeous against the blue Texas sky, both roses are head-turners.  I’m not going to prune them just yet, against common gardening wisdom;  there will be time later for that.

 

In the last week or so, the Southern dewberry, Rubus trivialis has burst out in blooms.

The sweet, snowy flowers attract skippers and honeybees, and dot the back of the garden, clambering up a fence and creeping along the ground.

The buds are a pure pink, so provides a bit of a color two-fer.  Alas, it’s more than likely that the birds will pick off the berries before I get to them.

 

I finally found the one spot in my garden for Desert mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua.  Native to regions west of Texas, this lovely requires full sun and excellent drainage.  It’s a high elevation shrub, but the best I could do was pop it into a raised bed.  I love it, blooms or not, and the tangerine flowers paired with that grey-green ruffle of foliage is a winning combination.

The native Blue Orchard bees, recently awakened from their own year-long dormancy, have enjoyed the pollen provided by this mallow.

 

A passalong plant,  Giant spiderwort, Tradescantia gigantea, delivers blasts of purple for this gardener and loads of nectar and pollen for the pollinators.  Honeybees are in a frenzy gathering the pollen as they gear up for spring.

I have quite a few clumps of this spiderwort and they seed out prolifically.  They’re easily pulled up and tossed into the compost, or even better, gifted to unsuspecting gardeners.

I like that the insect (a fly or native bee?) is also interested in the plant.  I wonder if he/she is responsible for the hole in the leaf?

Purple power rules the garden with these spring pretties.

Most of these perennials and shrubs bloom at least some during a colder winter, but this year, that floral show has been richer.  Of course, as we enter March, the month of spring, an overnight light freeze or two is predicted in the next few days.

Typical.

The native plants will be fine, the irises, reaching to the sky and starting their blooms, might be damaged.  Time–and actual temperature–will tell.  Regardless, spring is now knocking at the garden gate and winter is mostly done.

How has your winter garden fared?

The Landing

Outside on a comfortable–warm, in fact–February afternoon, chasing the earliest emerged native bees in my garden and with some success, I spied this charming scene:

I like that the seed balances on the slender arm of a Globe mallowSphaeralcea ambigua, and appears steady and content, perky and upright.

I wonder, though, is it satisfied with the landing?  Afterall, this particular seed is from an American SycamorePlatanus occidentalis, and the goal of the wind-driven reproductive morsel is terra firma–which it missed by about 18 inches.  The achene, with attached propelled pappus, was driven from a nearby mature sycamore by puffs or bluffs of wind.  Who knows when the seed landed on the mallow, probably recently, but is it eager to be whooshed by air or washed by rain to the ground for continuation of the adult sycamore’s legacy?

The Globe mallow ignores the seed–it has its own blooming and reproduction to consider.

How many of us land like the seed, or ignore those who land around us?  How does that impact the course of life?

Joining in today with Anna’s  Flutter and Hum and her wonderful Wednesday Vignette.  Please pop over for garden, nature, and other musings.

 

Greens, Blues, Greys

I’m enjoying lovely leafiness which has come into its own in a bed adjacent to the  front entrance of my home.   Let’s take a wide view to get the bearings of this raised bed.

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I planted the Soft Leaf Yucca, Yucca recurvifolia and the Red YuccaHesperaloe parviflora as anchor plants in this bed because they are both evergreen and grow to respectable sizes.  Most of the other plants are smaller shrubs or groundcover-type perennials: some are evergreen, some are herbaceous perennials, and a couple are annuals.  There are also some other native perennials, a smaller yucca, and a native perennial grass, all located out of view of these photos.

Reminding me of tiny hands that are spread wide, I’m pleased with the deeply lobed foliage of this little annual/bi-annual thing, a native Wild Geranium, Geranium carolinianum.  It was a gift from birds, or maybe, the wind, but grows well with other pretty-leafed plants.

Tiny, dark green and fragrant leaves of Damianita, combine with soft, frilly poppy leaves, complement the ornate leaves of Wild Geranium.

Tiny, dark green and fragrant leaves of Damianita, combine with soft, frilly poppy leaves, complement the ornate leaves of Wild Geranium.

I noticed one Wild Geranium in the garden a few years ago, left it to seed, and each late winter, more return.  I like its sprawling nature, lacy foliage, and sweet, tiny blooms.  I’ll pull up all of the individuals soon because a few seeds left assure plants for next spring, but many seeds left guarantee too many future Wild Geraniums–much more weeding work–and who wants that?

The Wild Geranium foliage clamors for well-deserved attention underneath the Red Yucca,

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…while a seedling Mexican Feathergrass, Nassella tenuissima echoes the spray of the Red Yucca.

This extravagant set of leaves belongs to another spring annual, a member of the Papaver family, seeds of which were generously gifted to me last year by TexasDeb of the charming  Austin Agrodolce.

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Poppies popped in my spring garden for many years, seeds of which were given to me by a German friend long ago, but over time they’d declined and last year I had few poppies to ooh and aah over.  The new poppy seeds from Deb were a timely and quite welcomed gift.  With or without raindrops, I love the scalloped edges of poppy foliage, either alone,

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…or in concert with other interesting foliage.  This one poppy certainly holds its own alongside the petite grey leaves of  Germander Sage, Salvia chamaedryoides, the Wild Geranium, and blooming DamianitaChrysactinia mexicana–as well as the points of the Soft Leaf Yucca, bearing down on the rest.

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A wider look includes both newly planted Globe MallowSphaeralcea ambigua allowing for some silvery leaf action,

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…not to mention a couple of orange beauty blooms.

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The Germander Sage was an impulse purchase, but I like it–the blue flowers and grey-green leaves are hard to beat.  It’s hardy and easy to grow–a requirement in my garden–and it’s definitely a water-wise addition to this sunny, dry bed.

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The sunshiny blooms of the Damiantia almost steal the show from their foliage host and plant partners.

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Almost, but perhaps, not quite.

Tidy, smooth leaves of the not-in-bloom Rock Penstemon, Penstemon baccharifolius contrast in form and shape with matte, wavy poppy leaves.

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Spiky Twistleaf Yucca, Yucca rupicola appear to reach out from frilly poppy foliage, giving fair warning of their pointy ends as I lean into the garden to weed or photograph.

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I’m always poked–somewhere–by those ends. Always.

And from another angle,

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…blue-green Soft Leaf Yucca, minty-green poppy foliage, and vivid green Twistleaf Yucca are a verdant combination worthy of any celebration of green in the March garden.

This Green Anole certainly approves–of the straps of the Soft Leaf Yucca, if not of the photographer’s intrusion,

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…while his bigger buddy looks askance at me.  Does he know how well he reflects the colors of the Soft Leaf Yucca?  Or, is it the other way around?IMGP6271.new

In celebration of the foliage in the March garden, many thanks to Christina and her lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.   Check out her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day for a look at foliage in many gardens, from many places.